Can gems be found on the moon

The oldest rock on earth discovered - on the moon

The chunk is about the size of a basketball and weighs around nine kilograms. Strictly speaking, it is a breccia - a type of rock in which various, angular fragments are held together by a putty mass. The impact that created the huge Mare Imbrium - one of the large, dark craters on the side of the moon facing us - probably also produced 14321 and hurled it to the landing site of Apollo 14.

Most of its components, called clasts, are dark in color. But among them is an unusually bright fragment, the composition of which is similar to terrestrial granite. To find out where this outlier came from, Bellucci's team took samples from 14321 and focused on the zircon trapped in the rock.

"Zircon is an incredibly hard, resilient, and robust mineral," said study co-author David Kring, a scientist with the Lunar and Planetary Institute in Houston, Texas. "If you are looking for remnants of the oldest geological processes, then zircon is a good material to start with."

When the team examined the zircons and the surrounding quartz rock, they found that the bright clast had formed under conditions that would have been extremely unusual for the moon. The zircons were created in significantly colder and more oxygen-rich magma than would typically be found on the moon.

In addition, the clast seems to have formed under pressure that would only be found on the moon at a depth of more than 160 kilometers. The impact that ejected 14321, however, dug barely more than 70 kilometers into the surface of the moon. If the clast was really formed at such a great depth, how did it come to the surface?